IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Week 6

  1. How did physically acting out help to explore Ideas?

While we were conducting physically acting,  we found lots of potential problems which would happen in real life and these problems would not be so easy to explore during common brainstorming.

  1. Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through Body storming? In what way?

Yes, we have refined our ideas and solutions. Our design problem is to help find solution to provide better sleeping experience in airplane. By doing body storming, we found out different factors that could influent passengers’ sleeping quality. What’s more, every one seemed to have deeper understanding of this design problem and came up with some brilliant ideas.

  1. What was difficult or challenging about body storming?

The most difficult part is to get in to the status in a less realistic environment and imagine ourselves as the real users.  Because we were not in a real environment, some reactions would not be 100% same as those in real life, this could made us miss some critical clue to the solution.

  1. Does body storming lend itself to certain types of problems?

I think body storming is suitable for solving some daily issues but not for professional or special problems. As designers, we have the similar experience with most people in issues like transportation, shopping, education, entertainment, etc. However we could not simulate the real scenes of very specific areas. So when we are solving the accessible problems, professional problems and problems in other unfamiliar areas, I don’t think it would be adequate to use this design approach.

Summary Poster of Research Report


Blog 5 – Ideating


This week, each of our group composed a very hi-tech character as the extreme user and then drew a simple sketch of the future payphone from their perspectives.

My character, Harris, who is 25 years old and graduated from Stanford Computer Science Department. Harris is a sci-fi fan, but meanwhile, he is also very practical in reality; maybe it is because he works as a program developer in a very famous company right now, so he has to focus on function more than innovation.

During discussion, I found my character, actually myself, really been limited within the current technology trends (oops), so he argued against some of the ideas that would only be realised in the sci-fi movies, such as the “Apparate”. In the end, we came up with a payphone prototype that is very functional but not so creative. We named it “The Omnipotent Phone”.

How did taking the position of an extreme user influence your thinking in relation to the design challenge? Was it different to how you usually generate ideas and empathy?

Actually, at first, I imagine myself as “Walden Schmidt” in Two And A Half Men, but with far less money. As a hi-tech fan, I don’t think they would use payphone very often because there are lots of alternatives of cell phone. I think in the future, people like them might need a payphone only in extreme cases such as they don’t have cell phone with them. Hence people can download their personal information, such as contacts, schedule from the cloud. Also, they can identify their location in case they got lost in a strange place. Hi-tech people would rely on a strong social network platform, in my opinion, thus I also designed multiple communicational functions including video phones and many other communicating ways. Last but not the least, I do think my extreme user would not like to take wallet all the time, so the payphone also support multi-payment like facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, etc.

It is different from what I usually do. Normally I would focus more on the appearance and add more innovative element. Yet as a people who is professional in hi-tech area, my user should clearly know what people cannot accomplish in a short term, so they wouldn’t put so many imaginative elements into the design.

Did any of the other design thinking techniques (design provocation cards, stories, storyboards, etc.) help you to work through ideas and collaborate with your group members?

Writing a story of the character definitely helped me a lot. To make the story logically reliable and meet the user’s identity, I have to consider every detail carefully. The provocation cards also provided us with great inspirations. For instance, the word “connection” remind us to enhance the communication function. We got many new ideas with these methods when we got sucked.

Week 4 – Interpreting Data

Yimin Table

How did this exercise help you build empathy with prospective users?

I learnt to highlight effective information from the users’ words and classify the information into several different category. At first we made wrong categories, we just simply classified these feedbacks according to their attributes, which cannot reveal the users’ needs well. After listening to Lian’s advise, we corrected our mistakes in time. The new categories are based on the users’ needs, which would more intuitively reflect their requirements and habits.

This exercise helped me to collect useful information more efficiently; I also started to think about how to combine the users’ need with our product’s functions.

How did this clustering of information help you understand user needs?

Sometimes we can find out that there are always some common requirements from the users’. Then these requirements should be the most important ones that we need to consider first.  Also there are some problems that were not mentioned by users frequently, but it didn’t mean they are not important at all. Actually, some of these “non-mainstream” needs are just exactly what gave us inspirations.

What was difficult or challenging with the technique? How would you do it better next time?

Personally, I think it is hard to extract the most targeted information because at the beginning, everything seemed to be important to some extent. But as I continue reading, I could gradually tell what really mattered to the user and what didn’t. To be more efficient next time, I would filter these messages in my mind first. Besides, maybe I would also think as a common user but not a designer thus I can perceive what need to be emphasised of the product.

Week 3 – Creating Personas

This week, we tried to make personas of movie audiences with the help of the template. In class, we collected real data by interviewing each other about our experiences of going to the cinema. ( I attached my persona at the end of this article.)

1) Describe your experience of creating a single persona from different user’ perspectives gathered in the interview data.  Was there enough commonality between the 4 people interviewed to form a coherent persona? Or would it have made more sense to create a second different persona?

I thought most of the movie fans would have some common requirements for the cinemas’ service, such as the acoustic effects and the environment of watching. I didn’t realize that, however, going to the cinema would also be a important way of socializing for a lot of people. Maybe it is because we are different in cultural background, gender and age; so the needs of users are various. Besides, perhaps it is because different users prefer different kinds of movies, that also leads to different expectations.

Fortunately, our group had something in common. First of all, was the sound quality. Sometimes, the sound effect was just annoying because the projectionist just set the volume too loud. Second was the environment of the theater. For instance, cozy seats, fresh air and so on. Last, we all wanted the cinema to provide snacks with lower prices.

Though there are common among us, I think it’s better to draw different personas according to the age groups of the users. I found out that, people’s habits and preferences would change as their ages increase so that there would definitely be different needs. Actually, cultural backgrounds and personal tastes are factors that influence people’s choice as well, but considering the main function of movie is entertaining, I think their influence are crucial.

2)  Do you think your final persona was successful in generating empathy with users? What would you change to make it better?

I think my persona has generated the user’s empathy to a great extent. However, I think I could make further improvements in some ways. Leading the user to consider deeper and use his imagination would help me to find out more possibilities and solutions. For instance, I think I should have asked him questions like “will use a app to pre-order your tickets and snacks if it is available?” , “do you think the current ticket-booking apps are simple and convenient enough for you to use? What improvements would you expect?” and “would you follow the cinema’s social media accounts if they post the timetable of movies everyday?”

Meanwhile, I think I would not ask what their ideal experience or goals because it’s a very opening question to me. I think the users always have new expectations and our design could always need improvements. And the other reason is that I think different users could have different standard of “ideal”, some would give the interviewer very unrealistic answers while others might just give nonconstructive answers. If I’m the interviewee, I would be confused about this question because I could not specify my ideal experience and I don’t know how to deliver my expectation to the interviewer.

To fix this, I would ask more specific question about the details such as the waiting time, seat availability and the rationality of the timetable. I would also ask for their opinions about the future improvements in every aspect so that they could be inspired to a greater extent.



Week 2 – Material Iterations


1.How did working through different materials help you to explore and express  potential solutions to a design problem?

   Using different materials can help me to have a more careful consideration about my design. At the beginning, I sketched  a chair with just two circular tubes as its backrest. when I started to make the prototype, however, I found it was very hard to connect the top and bottom together if I use ductile materials. So I had to change my design and added a more comfortable backrest.

Finished pipe cleaners prototype

2.What kinds of information and inspiration did the different materials give you? Did you have a favourite material?

  For instance, I could figure out a more appropriate shape of the cushion by using corrugated cardboard so that it would fit the baby’s body better and make her feel comfortable.  Meanwhile, designing the construct of the chair could not leave the pipe cleaners. This kind of material showed a intuitive construct of what I had made,  and let me know which part should be improved to make the structure more stable. However, it was hard to make the pipe cleaners into a precise shape without pliers. Every kind of material has its own advantage and my favourite is the pipe cleaner because its plasticity.

3.What did you change along the way? What did you learn from your prototypes?

  I changed the shape of the cushion thus it fits the baby’s body shape better, and I changed the shape of the backrest. What I’ve learnt from my prototypes was to choose the right materials. Different materials really show big difference in performance. So, as a designer, I should choose carefully according to different needs of different parts. But still, try a few more kinds can give me more inspiration.


4.How well did you address your user needs in the various design models you created?

Though the outline of my chair is not innovative at all, but I do think it meets the user’s needs to the maximum extent. The chair has three wheels that move freely so she could continue her exploration of the world.  The circular backrest can prevent her from falling off, at the same time she still has enough space to get whiny and squirmy. Last but not the least, her pinky is always there for her! It would be a big relief to her mom, I think.


Sorry, I don’t know why I can’t add the tag named after my uni code.

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